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Quarterback or Water Boy

Giving your goaltender a crease and putting the pegs in the net should be the most basic assumption of every drill...

When speaking to head coaches on their practice planning I often post the question :

Do you treat your goaltenders like they are the Quarterback headed into your weekend games?

Coach's answer : No.

I then ask:

If your goaltender doesn't play at their best this weekend do you have a good chance to win?

Coach's answer : No.

I don't know much about football, but from everything I see and listen to, the Quarterback is the most integral player to a teams success or failure. If your Quarterback isn't on his game, it is incredibly hard to win. On each and every play they have an important task to perform.

This is why in practice the Quarterback receives important guidance when it comes to drills, training and preparation.

Now, I understand that most team Head Coaches did not play at the goaltender position and do not feel comfortable instructing goalies. Yet, there DOES need to be an acknowledgement and change in practice plans to help, prepare and develop the goaltenders consistently on a weekly basis.

Although most goaltenders seek additional private goalie training , you cannot discount or dismiss the hours and hours of missed development during team practices where the goalies are facing their exact skill level of opponents, speed and game situations.

Game Situations - Simulating and creating perfect game situations during goalie training is an important undertaking. The subtle hints, cues and details of a shooter dropping a shoulder, a small head fake, the defender falling or moving too far are massive part of a goalie's development. Although goalie practice is great for development in technique, edge work and other skills - one cannot combine certain elements seen with 5 forwards and a real line of defenders. This has to be done as part of the team practice = Small Area Games.

Small Area Games are the fore front of all hockey development from mites to the NHL. Why? because there is nothing better than actually seeing and experiencing game type situations to learn from. "Hockey IQ" as they call it, is the Unicorn of unteachable skills. It is what many believe is true talent in ice hockey. I agree. Most teams have kids who are fast and have great shots but do not produce. Why? Hockey IQ. Goalies are no different.

I believe this is very true for goaltenders. Many goalies have great movement, size, quickness but do not have great results on a consistent basis. In my opinion, this is because reading the game, understanding where the net is and how to cover space is not the core of their development. In order to develop those things goalies need to play small area games and have realistic drills like every other player. Their TEAM PRACTICE time needs to be relevant!

Do I expect team coaches to actually start treating their goalies like the Quarterback? No.

But I think they can at least put the pegs in the net, give them a crease and pose this question to every drill; What is the goalie trying to do here?

Giving the goaltender a crease and putting the pegs should be the most basic assumption of every drill. You need your goalie to perform and be your best player in order to have a chance to win.

If they they do not know where the net is and where to position themselves every drill then they are not getting better.

Give your goalies a crease

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